“Augustine says it is more difficult to struggle with licentiousness than with a cross. To be bound and kept in prison is a great calamity. But a still greater evil and danger is found in the fight against licentiousness; for there the struggle is a constant and daily one, and victory is rare.”
Licentiousness is defined as the act of being sexually unrestrained or unrestrained by law or general morality. It’s a selfish state where the satisfaction of the senses is paramount, often at the expense of others.
Galatians 5:19-21 lays these acts out, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
So, if such things are so dangerous, why do we run to them to satisfy our darkest desires? The above practices seem to outline where it seems our world is going. Loving relationships are being replaced by “hook-up” culture. Humility has been replaced by many with impurity. Too often, anger seems to overtake any attempts at proper communication and sexual immorality has become self- expression.
And, once we have found ourselves in the grip, it’s very difficult to free ourselves. When pornography is so prolific, many find it hard to fight off their sexual desires to “take a peek.” When friends encourage us to do things we know we shouldn’t, we too easily choose sinful desire over righteousness.
So, how does God show us the way out of our licentiousness? We find the path immediately following in the above passage in Galatians, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26).
Just as falling into licentiousness is a choice, so is right living. We avoid a self-indulgent life by practicing the fruit of the Spirit. We defeat the devil by taking on the attributes of God. Today, start your new life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control by surrendering to the one who has created them.
Our prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to keep my heart and mind always focused on You and help me to live in such a way that you are glorified in every opportunity. Amen.